Riddles of a Lost Boy. – Asíwájú Babatimehin

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Riddles of a Lost Boy

I am something—


is my native heirloom. my ancestors, 

             shifting lands & 

shape-shifting tongues.    all oduduwa’s milk & honey

not sufficing to quench their thirst                                              

                                                          for new land. 

     the result:       a minor(ity) problem. 

a leaf has fallen                                                                      too far

from its tree.     a people in Kogi

                                                     torn apart from their heritage

by the thin lines that shape states.                                                   

wandering is a family heirloom.

I wandered

                                                 from my culture as a seed 

in my father’s balls 

                                in search of greener pastures 

       to plant me.  which is to say

                                                           I was a nomad before I was born.

drifting through cities: Abuja, Lagos, Ibadan, and Kaduna.

two decades after, I am a jack of many lands 

                                                                      but a citizen of none.

 a foreigner            in every city, 

                   with no land      to call me 

its own. when I return to Yagba in December

they ask for my father’s name. which is to say they don’t know me.

when I speak, 

         they ask where I’m from.    my accented dialect is the joke 

I tell my aunts at Christmas. whenever I talk, 

they ask what I am.         & I develop a stutter. 

I stand

                  in front of a mirror          & become

a contortionist.      bending my form into the shape

of a question mark. 

asking myself:  what



Contributor’s Bio

Asíwájú Babatimehin is a Civil Engineering student at the University of Ibadan. He’s a Nigerian essayist, poet, and dramatist. He is currently a member of The Poetic Collective, TPC. His works have appeared in Brittle Paper, Synchronized Chaos, and Moksha Review.

Writing apart, he is a member of the most prestigious Literary and Debating society in Sub-Saharan Africa, The Sultan Bello Hall LnD club. He enjoys engaging in intellectual discourse.

You can contact him at: [email protected].

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